• Website
  • Location: Hopkins, MN
  • Favorite foods: Butter, bacon, chocolate, cheese, pasta, potatoes, pepper, bread, dumplings, and Coke. And gravy.

Chinese Noodles 101: How to Make Lo Mein With Beef and Broccoli

I am really enjoying this series, I can't wait to try some of these recipes. I have a great wok that's as old as I am, but I never really know what I'm doing when I cook with it. It's nice to have a resource on these techniques, rather than just making it up as I go along and hoping for the best.

Amanda Cook Doubles Down with Food Science and the Culinary Arts

@BeavisPeters: heh heh right with ya on the chocolate sausage. And that charcuterie board must have been so much fun to create! I wish I lived in New York so I could eat it.

Lunch in the Loop: Devil Dawgs South Loop is Kick Ass

I'm still nervous about peanut butter on a burger...I've had it on sandwiches with pork or chicken before, but for some reason it just seems like it would be weird with beef. And cheese. Oh well. I guess it still sounds less weird than that hot dog salad you had a little while ago.

TV cooking shows, food contamination

I have no idea if that salt is actually safe to use, but it seems icky. If possible, I try to only touch raw meat with one hand so I still have a clean hand to grab other stuff with. Otherwise I wash my hands before grabbing anything else! And I don't store my salt in a bowl anyway. I usually just pour a little bit of kosher salt from the box it came in into my palm and go from there, that way nothing icky gets into my salt!

I don't have a....

I don't have an ice cream maker, a mandolin, a double boiler, or anything to sharpen knives. I also don't have a V-rack for my roasting pan. I don't really miss having any of these things. What I would really like is SPACE: my Dutch oven, stand mixer, blender, griddle, food processor, wok, scale, cast iron etc are awesome and I love them, but my cabinets are jam packed and I have exactly enough open counter space for a cutting board and nothing else. I would love to have a toaster oven, but I would have to keep it in the sink or the living room or something, because I am fresh out of space!

Any love for soggy fries?

I've always gotten good fries from 5 guys, maybe it's just that some locations are better than others? And I *hate* soggy fries. I'm looking at you, Wendy's. But my best friend likes soggy fries a lot, so I guess it takes all kinds.

The Best F&$king Grilled Chicken Sandwich Ever

@akay1 and @Daniel: thanks, those are both good suggestions. I had thought of a bechamel, but it hadn't occurred to me to try hiding the mayo in the other sauce. Some experimenting is definitely in order! :)

A Sandwich a Day: Pork Belly Grinder at Aberdeen Tap

I'm assuming that stuff on top is the "apple butter"....but it looks an awful lot like what my cats yak up on the carpet if they bolt their dinner too fast.

My Pie Monday: Peeps, Cherries, Asparagus, and More!

@Bella Regina: that was hilarious, I loved reading your description! And despite the weirdness of the toppings, I would still totally eat that!

Cook the Book: 'Yucatán' by David Sterling

Italy, then Mexico, then France. In that order. I don't care that it isn't a logical itinerary for a road trip.

We Try Everything On Taco Bell's New Breakfast Menu

Those were the prettiest pictures of the ugliest's making my brain hurt a little bit. Did Cricket eat any of it?

We Try Everything On Taco Bell's New Breakfast Menu

The aftermath of eating all that Taco Bell must have totally destroyed your bathroom.

The Best F&$king Grilled Chicken Sandwich Ever

@scaramoche that is a hilarious description. And cilantro totally tastes like soap.

The Best F&$king Grilled Chicken Sandwich Ever

Does anyone have a suggestion for something else to glue this thing together other than mass quantities of horrible, hate-inducing mayo? Fat and calories are not a concern, but I HATE mayo. Everything else sounds great, but I don't think the chips would stay in the sandwich without being glued in there somehow. Some sort of a cheese sauce maybe? (And I'm not complaining about the recipe writers use of the mayo. That's a normal sandwich topping choice. I'm just a weirdo who can't stand mayo.)

We Try Four Exclusive Peep Flavors for Easter

The mall where I work has a Peeps store where you can get Peeps year round. I don't let myself go there, ever. Too dangerous.

This Week at Serious Eats World Headquarters

Robyn doodles on Pixel = YES!!! Ballerina kitty!!! Also, now I want to draw teddy bear faces on my cat's feet. Although it would be kind of a mutant bear on the cat with extra toes. And it's so cute that Cricket will eat morsels of food from Dennis's hand. If I tried that with my cats, I would either get a disdainful stare or a chewed-on hand.

Why did nothing get waffled this week? I'm glad you didn't try to waffle the deviled eggs, because that would be horrifying, but surely there was some other food lurking around just begging to be smashed in a waffle iron...

Manner Matters: Dealing with Dietary Demands

@La Maison Sacre: I agree with your frustration on the gluten-free issue. I have a few friends who actually have celiac disease and I would happily accommodate them with gluten-free options, but I HATE when people say "we're gluten free" for vague and unspecified "health reasons" or just to lose weight. If you don't want to eat gluten because you want your pants to fit better or you read an article on the internet about paleo-something-or-other, that's on you and I don't feel obligated to buy and cook you special food.

On the one hand, the trendiness of going gluten free has helped people with celiac disease by expanding the amount of dining options they have, but on the other hand the huge number of people hopping on the bandwagon has made it more likely that people will be dismissive of their condition and assume they are just avoiding gluten to be trendy rather than to avoid becoming very ill.

Rock the Footlong Hot Dog at Chuck's: A Kerry Simon Kitchen

That meatloaf looks absolutely terrible, like they cooked it for twice as long as they needed to. I bet it would bounce if you dropped it on the floor. And that big slab of non melted cheese on the burger looked pretty depressing.

I remember watching Kerry Simon on Iron Chef, I was sad to hear about his illness.

Manner Matters: Dealing with Dietary Demands

If I'm having people over for dinner, I mainly want to know if someone is deathly allergic to something, or if they are a vegetarian/don't eat pork/lactose intolerant, etc. basically anything that would rule out an entire food category. I'm not in the habit of asking people what they can and can't eat, but when people are over I will make sure everyone knows if something contains nuts, stealth meat, etc so there are no unpleasant surprises.

I'm kind of a picky eater, but I wouldn't dream of telling the host of a party a list of 20 things I don't want to eat. I usually just stick with "I'm allergic to pineapple and I don't eat seafood." And I would only bring it up if they asked. And if they are serving shrimp with pineapple salsa for dinner, I will just fill up on side dishes without complaint.

cooking with frozen rhubarb

You could portion it beforehand, in whatever amount the recipe calls for, into separate bags/containers. Then you can just take one out when you want to make a pie.

What do you guys prefer plastic or wooden

I like chopping on wooden boards, but I mostly use plastic at home so I can just toss them in the dishwasher. Plus I'm too lazy to properly take care of a nice wooden board. I tend to only use my fancy wooden board to slice bread on.

Simple Pleasures

Homemade peach jam spread on a piece of nice squishy white bread is one of the best things ever.

A good quality baguette or other crusty bread, warm from the oven and spread with some cold butter always makes me happy. I like the bread to be hot and the butter to be cold because I like the temperature contrast. Sometimes I will have just that and maybe a few pieces of cheese for dinner.

Suggestions for dessert tasting menus

Bread pudding in individual ramekins is nice and can be made ahead. Tiramisu is also a good one, and it's pretty if you make individual ones layered in shot glasses.

@korenni I'm going to go to the store right now to buy a huge chocolate bunny, that is such a great (and hilarious) idea!!!

Home gardening?

I can't keep a plant alive at all, which is a bummer because I hate buying fresh herbs and it would be so nice to just pick a little bit when I need it. But I gave up after killing a basil plant, a rosemary plant, and a pot of lemon thyme.

When I was a kid, I remember having a little corner of my parents' giant garden where I would plant carrots, peas, and radishes. Nothing tastes better than a baby carrot pulled right out of the ground, washed and eaten immediately. So different from the tasteless woody carrots at the grocery store!

How to Add recipes

If you want to post your recipes online you might want to start a blog of your own. There are lots of sites that can help you set up a blog. Try Weebly, Wix, or Blogger, they are all pretty easy to use, and the basic versions are usually free.

Deviled eggs

Every year at Easter, I look forward to having deviled eggs. I have been the designated deviled-egg maker for our family since I was 5 years old! Our "recipe" consists of mashing up the yolks with Miracle Whip (never mayo!) and black pepper, and dusting the filled eggs with paprika. (Not exactly gourmet, I know, but it's what I grew up with and still enjoy.) When I was a kid, we would just spoon the filling into the whites. Nowadays, I like to pipe it in with a pastry bag and large star tip, or scoop it neatly with a small cookie scoop.

I love deviled eggs the way I make them, but I know there are zillions of variations on the recipe out there. Who else out there makes deviled eggs for Easter, and what do you put in them? Any fun or fancy garnishes?

Culinary land mines

One of the worst things that can happen while you are eating is to suddenly encounter an ingredient that you hate without any prior warning that it's about to hit your mouth. Reactions range from quiet disappointment to grimacing to straight up spitting it out. My top 3 land mines are:

1. Stealth raisins. Either they are cleverly disguising themselves as chocolate chips, or they are golden raisins hanging out in something the same color as they are. Always an unpleasant surprise. I don't hate raisins, I just want to know they are there before I bite into one.
2. Cilantro. If it's all chopped up or blended in with a chutney or pesto, it's hard to tell that you are about to get a mouthful of soapy horror instead of a pleasant herb. (I'm one of those people who thinks cilantro tastes just like a leaf made out of dish soap. Ick.)
3. Bread and butter pickles. These are the WORST! One of the saddest things to happen in your mouth is expecting a nice dill pickle and instead getting a bite of slimy, weirdly sweet cucumber abuse. One of the few foods that I will literally spit out if it accidentally winds up in my mouth.

Does anyone else have experiences like this, or am I a total weirdo?

Too many dried chiles!

I bought a bag of dried New Mexican chiles to make a recipe which called for six of them. My grocery store only sells chiles in huge, gallon-sized bags, so now I have MANY chiles. I didn't like the dish I made enough to make it six more times. Any suggestions? I looked at Kenji's chili recipe, but he suggests using several different kinds of chiles, so that would only make my excess chiles problem even worse!!

What dippers should I buy for my hot cheese dip?

I spent a long, indecisive time in the cracker aisle today, unable to decide on a cracker or chip to buy. I'm making a hot dip that has cream cheese, gruyere, a little garlic, caramelized onions, and bacon. Do I want crostini? Lavosh? Pita chips? Wheat thins? Help!

Pizza peel substitute?

I really want to try Kenji's NY style pizza recipe this week. I have all the ingredients, a food processor, a scale, a pizza stone....but I don't have a peel! Cooks Illustrated suggests building on a flipped over half sheet pan, but that seems so awkward! Would a flat, rimless cookie sheet work ok? Or does anyone have a different suggestion?

Death Valley sous vide!

Death Valley hit 135 degrees today! I wonder if you sealed a few steaks in vacuum bags and left them there for several hours, would you wind up with some perfect medium rare steaks?

Uncle George's Greek Taverna recipes?

Uncle George's Greek Taverna in NY was my sister's favorite restaurant when she lived there. We just found out the restaurant has closed. I would love to be able to re-create a few of her favorite dishes. They had a braised beef dish that was large chunks of beef in a tomato based sauce, and lemon potatoes that seemed to have been cooked in oil and lemon, possibly confit style? Any recipes or advice would be welcome.

Help! My smoke alarm hates it when I broil!

I broiled some beef koftes last week because I don't currently have a grill. They were on a rack set in a half sheet pan lined with foil. 3/4 of the way through cooking, the drippings started to smoke, setting off all the smoke alarms. I thought I read in a magazine that I could put something on the baking sheet to absorb the drippings so they wouldn't smoke. Salt, or baking soda maybe? I can't remember and I can't find the magazine either. Opening all the doors and windows isn't the most practical solution at my house, the cats always try to escape/shred my window screens.

What to do with maple sugar?

I got a holiday gift box containing a bottle of maple syrup and a bag of maple sugar. The syrup has long since been consumed with waffles, but I am not sure what to do with the maple sugar. I know it was expensive, so I would like to use it for something special. Ideas and/or recipes welcome!

Italian vs Swiss buttercream: is there a big difference?

I have made Swiss buttercream a few times and liked it, but a friend just sent me a recipe for an amazing-looking raspberry buttercream that starts with an Italian buttercream base. I have never tackled Italian buttercream because hot sugar syrup makes me nervous. On the other hand, whisking egg whites by hand over a double boiler to make Swiss buttercream isn't that much fun either. Is there a huge flavor or texture difference between the two methods that would make it worth branching out?

The Best General Tso's Chicken

If the British can proudly call Chicken Tikka Masala their national dish, then surely it's time that General Tso got his chicken in our national spotlight. Everybody knows the candy-sweet take-out joint version, but I firmly believe that it has the potential to be so much more than that. How great would a homemade version of General Tso's be, with a flavor that shows some real complexity and a texture that takes that crisp-crust-juicy-center balance to the extreme? Our version does just that. More

The Food Lab: How To Make The Best Fajitas

I'm not particularly proud of my time time spent working at the kinds of cheesy chain restaurants you'd find next to the Victoria's Secret at the mall or perhaps in Times Square. But aside from making me shun any writer that uses the phrase "X to perfection," it did teach me one valuable lesson: People looooooove meat served on a sizzling platter. Today at The Food Lab, we figure out the best way to make them at home. More